Blogger Spotlight: Lindsay Nixon from Happy Herbivore

by in Blogger Spotlight, October 5, 2012
 
Lindsay is passionate about her plant-based, low-fat diet. Along with the Happy Herbivore blog, Lindsay has authored two successful cookbooks and offers meal planning services for both individuals and families. Most of her recipes come together in twenty minutes, making them accessible for busy home cooks. She uses mostly whole, unprocessed foods, and refrains from adding fat to the meals she prepares.

Why did you and your husband choose to adopt a vegan lifestyle?

Initially I was motivated by the plight of farm animals and the amazing health benefits associated with a plant-based diet. My husband, on the other hand, was more drawn to it from an environmental aspect and we’ve since rubbed off on each other. Now we’re both motivated by our health, the animals and the environment. Eating a plant-based (vegan) diet has truly changed our lives.

Is it difficult to cook without using oils and butter?  Which ingredients do you use as substitutes?

It’s very easy. Instead of oil I saute in vegetable broth or water and I bake or broil instead of frying. With baked goods I replace butter and oil with applesauce or pumpkin most of the time, but have also used shredded zucchini and beans (Yes! Beans! It’s amazing how well they work). I find cooking this way also allows for a greater depth of subtle flavors. Oils and butters tend to coat the tongue, so it’s a little like tasting food with a glove on. Once you take them away, the components in the dish really shine.

How do you resist temptation for junk food?

Part of my motivation for eating a plant-based (vegan) diet is focused around my health. I know what animal products how bad they leave me feeling. I also had a serious health scare in my early 20′s before I was plant-based and I like to keep that in focus. “Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels,” I always say. It also helps to know that I can make a healthier, vegan version of a junk food (i.e. cinnamon bun or meatball sub) at home that’ll taste just as good but without any downside.

Aside from eating well, how do you stay in shape?

I’ve found that as long as I eat a low-fat (no oil) whole foods, plant-based diet, I can maintain my weight (and a slender figure) even during periods of total inactivity. Prior to eating a plant-based (vegan) diet I was a bit of a couch potato. Walking around the mall was tiring. Changing my diet, however, improved my energy and health in life-altering ways. 10 months after adopting a vegan diet, I ran a marathon. I’ve also become an avid snowboarder and hiker. I guess you could say I keep a fairly active lifestyle now. Anytime I’m sweating from physical exertion, I stop to marvel at how much I’ve changed!

What is your go-to weeknight meal?

When I’m not in the mood to cook, I make either bean burgers (just 6-ingredients!), tofu scramble (adding in whatever veggies and beans I have on hand) or cooked greens (i.e. kale) with a cooked grain (i.e. brown rice), beans (i.e. black beans) and a flavorful sauce such as homemade mushroom gravy or a fun salsa (i.e. pineapple salsa).

Do you have any tips for people looking to start a vegan diet on a budget?

Staples like beans and lentils, whole grains, seasonal fruits and vegetables are a bargain. For your health and wallet, try to stick to those ingredients rather than splurging on the expensive (and not-so-healthy) vegan substitutes like fake meats, fake cheeses and other gourmet or specialty ingredients. Those items can be helpful during transition, but they’re not health foods (or cheap). Also remember that meals don’t have to be complicated. A bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables with brown rice and a splash of soy sauce or teriyaki sauce is a fast and delicious meal. I also like to make pepper fajitas: bag of frozen peppers, a fajita seasoning packet and tortillas. Of course you can totally have fancy and gourmet fare as a vegan, but if you’re trying to cut cost, go back to the basics. Also try to buy in bulk (i.e. from the bulk bin), buy local and buy seasonal. Frozen items also tend to be a bargain. At my supermarket you can get 10 bags of veggies for $10!

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Comments (355)

  1. Sheila says:

    FOOD NETWORK, We NEED a WHOLE FOODS PLANT BASED cooking show! PLEASE! PLEASE!!

  2. Kassie says:

    Thank you for featuring a vegan cook! It would be exciting to see more of this on the Food Network.

  3. Roxanne says:

    I am so thrilled that Food Network has decided to show the work of famous chef Lindsay S. Nixon author of the Happy Herbivore cookbook series . It is about time we show the world how healthy plant-based meals can be and how easy they are to make!

  4. Karen NBvW says:

    As an aging long time veg. I found myself on numerous "age related" drugs and more advised by Doc. when I started to research a Plant Based Whole Food No added Oil (PBWFNO) diet as prescribed by numerous scientists and Doctors and Nutritionists, the potential benefits are too numerous to count and there is NO DOWN SIDE, unlike most of those a fore mentioned drugs! Lindsay S. Nixon and the various Facebook pages associated with her, along with her own blog and cookbooks has been instrumental in my learning how to cook w'out the dairy and cheese that was such a large part of my diet, I can't begin to understand how helpful she would be to a regular Standard American Diet (SAD) person!

  5. Jaira Sands says:

    What a lovely lady! Her books are awesome and the meals are easy, and the ingredients are super easy to find in any grocery store! I haven't spent one meal in the kitchen that takes me more than 30 minutes from preparation to the table!

  6. DEBORAH JACKSON says:

    I am so glad that vegan food is starting to be recoginize especially with LIndsay. I have her books . My doctor told me to go vegan and I have lost 80 lbs and counting and I feel so much better and more and more doctors are starting to recommend vegan diets to reverse heart disease and reverse diabetes. By following Lindsay's books, I have been able to my health wear it should be….. I dont take any diabetic medician and the numbers are all where they should be for my age at 51. So highly recommend LIndsay's books and glad to see that Food Net Work is joining in !!!!!

  7. Melissa says:

    Thank you for featuring Lindsay on your website! her cookbooks and facebook pages are fantastic and have made my transistion to being vegan so much easier. This is a lifestyle that your future self will thank you for, and I firmly believe everyone should give it a try. Food Network should consider having a show featuring vegan cooking (maybe even starring Lindsay)

  8. Jessica says:

    Thank you for this feature. Happy Herbivore is a vitally important piece of making the whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle a topic of world wide conversation. This way of eating is accessible to people, and the food tastes amazing. When Food Network decides to feature a vegan chef, I will buy cable again in my support of that effort. :)

  9. Eileen Tyler says:

    Love Lindsay, her cookbooks are excellent, she has an everyday mushroom gravy that is totally amazing! I have never been a fan of gravy until I tried this. A vegan show on the Food Network would be SO welcome!

  10. Jill G. says:

    I so wish that there would be a Food Network show featuring Lindsay!! She is sooooo wonderful and the perfect person to introduce "plant based living" to our overweight, overprocessed country!!

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